February 23, 2005 A PRIMEDIA Property Vol. III No. 4




CONTENTS
230.71 -- Number of Disconnects

Attack of the Weekend Wireman

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

Faces of the Code

Lost in the Crowd


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    Top 2005 Code Changes
    230.71 -- Number of Disconnects
    By Mike Holt
    The general requirements for number of disconnects was revised to exclude transient voltage surge suppressors. (Note: Code text has been paraphrased.)

    What the Code says:
    (A) General. There must be no more than six service-disconnects for each service permitted by 230.2 or for each set of service-entrance conductors permitted by 230.40, Ex. 1, 3, 4 or 5. The service disconnecting means can consist of up to six switches or six circuit breakers mounted in a single enclosure, in a group of separate enclosures or in or on a switchboard.
    For the purpose of this section, the disconnecting means for power monitoring equipment, transient voltage surge suppressors, the control circuit of the ground-fault protection system or power-operable service disconnecting means is not considered a service disconnecting means.
    (Text new to the Code is underlined.)

    Behind the change: This revision was necessary because in some cases a TVSS wasn't permitted to be added to buildings because they already contained six service disconnecting means.


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    Nightmare Installations
    Attack of the Weekend Wireman
    A couple years ago my friend purchased a home from a "handyman" who had redone the upstairs master bedroom. One day she was using her microwave when half the lights and outlets in the house went dead. She re-set the breaker but nothing happened. She called me over to check it out, and after several hours of snooping I traced the problem to somewhere behind the master walk-in closet. When I cut into the wall, I found an open 2-gang metallic box (the house was wired with flex). Another
    1-gang box was hanging from the first by a 4-in. piece of 3/8-in. flex. Neither box had a cover, and both had a big ball of electrical tape inside with wires running in all directions, including out the front of the box. Scorch marks were evident in both boxes, and it smelled of burnt plastic. Needless to say, I had to replace a ton of wire, boxes, and a couple circuits, but now she is able to sleep at night.
    Scott Sanville
    Minneapolis


    Send your 200-word story to us and it may appear in a future issue of CodeWatch. Authors of stories chosen will receive $25.


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    Code Challenge
    What's Wrong Here?
    By Joe Tedesco
    How does this installation violate the NEC?

    Hint: The inside of this service equipment appears a little speckled, wouldn't you agree?

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. I've been looking online, but I can't seem to find a consistent answer on whether a television antenna placed in the attic needs to be grounded. Does it?
    See the answer.

    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    What is/are the appropriate electrode(s) required to ground a 112.5kVA transformer installed as a separately derived system? The transformer is located 500 feet from the service equipment in a separate electrical room. Metallic water piping runs throughout the structure. The framework of the building is structural steel, and there's neither a ground ring nor access to rebar installed in the footings. The building's electrical system is grounded in accordance with all the applicable rules of Art. 250 of the 2005 NEC.

    1. A grounding electrode conductor connection to the metal water piping system in the area of the separately derived system is all that's required.
    2. A grounding electrode conductor connection to the structural steel in the area of the separately derived system is all that's required.
    3. Either one of the electrodes in A or B by itself is acceptable.
    4. Either one of the electrodes in A or B is acceptable as the grounding electrode only if the other electrode is also connected (bonded) to the same point of the separately derived system where the grounding electrode conductor connection of the system is also made.

    Visit EC&M's Web site for the answer and explanation.


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    Faces of the Code
    Tom Harman
    Member, Code-Making Panel 2

    As Don Corleone, Marlon Brando made offers others couldn't refuse. But when Tom Harman visited him five years ago to discuss the merits of installing a tankless water heater at his Hollywood estate, it was Brando who for once felt compelled to accept. Harman, who was moonlighting as a consultant for Microtherm, Inc., humbly dismisses talking business with the Godfather as his 15 minutes of fame, but it may have actually been fate that a member of the electrical industry who's done it his way spent time with an actor known for his independence.

    Unlike nearly every other Code-making panel member, Harman speaks only for himself when he votes on changes to the NEC. More than 25 years ago when he joined Code-Making Panel 2, it wasn't uncommon for panel members to represent themselves instead of an organization or association. Today, he's one of only three remaining independents -- or "special experts," as they're now known -- with voting status. "I've just always done it on my own," Harman says.

    Without anyone to sponsor him, he had only his own accomplishments to help him win a seat at the table. But in 1979 his career as a professor at the University of Houston - Clear Lake had only recently begun, and he was nearly 10 years from becoming the chair of the computer engineering department. He could have sold himself on the strength of his doctorate in electrical engineering from Rice University in Houston and the master electrician's license he earned in 1973, but it was his skill with the word processor that made him most attractive. "I'd just published my book, Guide to the National Electrical Code, when I ran into a number of people from the panel," he says. "And [then chairman] Earl Roberts said to me, 'Tom, we need people like you.' I've been on it ever since."

    After nine cycles on CMP-2, Harman has traveled across the United States and even as far as South Korea to speak about the Code. But it was that house call in Hollywood that gave him the story he most enjoys telling. "It was interesting [to spend time with Marlon]," he says. "He was very open about his life and his experiences."

    Speak Out
    Lost in the Crowd
    With every association with even the faintest ties to the electrical industry clamoring to put at least one member on a Code-making panel, "special experts" like Tom Harman are a dying breed. Are the independent voices getting squeezed out? Visit EC&M's Web site to tell us what you think.

    We only asked one question in the last issue of CodeWatch, but your responses told us two things. Not only do the vast majority of you (82%) expect inspectors to have more than five years of electrical wiring experience, but the unusually high vote turnout suggests you feel pretty strongly about it.

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